Ipswich is the charming county town of Suffolk, located on the estuary of the river Orwell, presumed to be the inspiration for author Blaire to change his name to George Orwell.
Replete with well-preserved and quaint one-storey buildings, including the 15th century ‘Ancient House’ in the Buttermarket area, Ipswich offers a pleasant contrast to the bustle of London, which is only 100 kms away.
Wander around the town centre – The layout of the town centre can only be described as adorable, with local pubs, vegetable market, town churches et al jostling for your attention. Take a stroll around the buttermarket area, gaze at the heritage buildings, peep into adorable homes, grab a lunch at Zizzi’s, watch the latest movie, drop into the reading room, hear the church bells toll while you savour a pastry from Patesserie Valerie.
Meet the Giles Family – The town of Ipswich is steeped in history, Charles Dickens stayed at the Great White Horse Hotel when he wrote ‘Pickwick Papers’; Dr. George Birkbeck founded one of the first ‘Mechanics’ Institute’ which operates to this day as the Ipswich library and reading room. One such famed icon was cartoonist Carl Giles who lived in Ipswich and whose popular satirical cartoon was widely loved. He is commemorated with a statue of Grandma and the ‘Giles family’ menagerie in Queen Street, overlooking the window of the newspaper office where he worked.
Picnic at Holywells Park – The Holywells park much like the rest of Ipswich has history going back thousands of years. Tools from the Stone Age, as well as Bronze Age axes and Roman Coins have been discovered at this 67 acre park. The beautiful park is home to a large number of birdlife and is ideal for a summer picnic. On the way back to the town, head to the pier at sunset for a romantic walk under the shimmering lights of the waterfront.
Visit Cambridge – The famed university town of Cambridge is a short train ride away from Ipswich and visit it you must. Cambridge’s architecture and gardens are spectacular; Punting in Cambridge is a wonderful way of looking at the beautiful ‘Bridge of Sighs’ and the ‘Mathematical Bridge’ while on the river Cam. I especially enjoyed musing over the sculptural and entirely mechanical ‘Corpus Clock’.
The White Cliffs of Dover are a part of the English coastline facing the strait of Dover and France. Standing atop the grasslands of the cliffs amidst wildflowers, grazing ponies and butterflies one can see Calais, on the coast of France.
Here is an excerpt from the poem Dover Beach eptimising the beauty of the Kent coast,
The sea is calm tonight,
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits – on the French coast, the light
Gleams, and is gone: the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Bali with it’s distinctive style of architecture built out of volcanic rock, black sand beaches and lush jungles, is a tropical paradise like none other.
Here are some of the things you must do while in Bali –
Stay in an eco-friendly resort – Travel responsibly; It is entirely possible to experience the beauty of Bali while supporting businesses that take steps to preserve Bali’s natural resources for perpetuity.
Watch the sunset at Ayana, Jimbaran – Perched on a cliff atop Jimbaran bay, Ayana boasts a spectacular sunset, the likes of which one has never seen.
Explore Bali’s Wildlife – Bali’s lush jungles are a veritable treat for wildlife lovers, plan a trip to West Bali National park or explore underwater sea life at the islands of Lembogan, Menjangan and Lovina.
Buy Balinese Furniture – Bali produces some of the best furniture in the world owing to an abundance of locally-grown, high quality wood. The many shops around Kerobokan stock beautiful furniture and are an aesthete’s delight.
Stay at an Airbnb in Canggu – Choose one with enormous French windows that open up to Canggu’s endless paddy fields and is a short drive from Canggu’s popular organic cafe – The Shady Shack.
Visit Tanah Lot – Tanah Lot is the most enchanting of the seven sea temples built on the Balinese coast. At low tide one can walk up the trail of rocks leading to the ancient temple.
Unwind at the Sunset Lounge at Pan Pacific Resort – A great way to enjoy the breathtaking sunset over Tanah Lot is from the aptly named Sunset Lounge at the Pan Pacific Resort. The resort in itself is beautifully landscaped and a treat for golf aficionados.
Surf Bali’s black sand beaches – Bali’s rolling waves and quiet, beautiful beaches are a surfer’s delight. So much so, that several classic surf movies such as ‘Morning of the Earth’ and ‘Endless Summer’ were shot here.
Miss Sloane is one of the best movies of 2017. It is a gripping thriller in which Jessica Chastain plays the namesake and portrays a ruthless lobbyist working the machinations of Washington DC. This role was undoubtedly tailor-made for Chastain, who always gives her very best to every character she has ever portrayed.
Miss Sloane begins with a speech by Chastain, in which she tries to explain to the committee eviscerating her, the merits of lobbying. A speech that will ring true again in the end of the film when the twists and turns of the tightly scripted plot take shape.
Movies are meant to be larger than life and fantastical in their ideas, leaving you guessing till the very end. You are meant to empathise with the character, feeling dejected when they fall short and elated when they triumph. Miss Sloane is such a movie and a must watch for everyone.